I just got off the phone with Sophia.

“Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day. What are you doing?” I asked.

“Nothing. You?”


I noticed that a few writers online were using Valentine’s Day to participate in Hilly’s Happy Self Love Day, which turns the holiday upside down, so that each person focuses on self-acceptance and self-love rather than buying overpriced flowers for others.

I think it is a great idea, but I’m not going to do it. I don’t like to step on the toes of others who might appreciate the romance of the day. And who knows what the future is going to hold? I might be into the holiday next year! One of my female friends is holding an anti-Valentine’s Day. I can bet you a thousand dollars that she becomes a Valentine’s Day maniac once she meets the right guy. The only true anti-Valentiners are those who remain aloof from the stuffed bears who play “Love Me Tender” when you press their tummies and the corny Hallmark cards — both during the lean years AND the fruitful years, relationships be damned, and very few of us have that fortitude. So, I say, go ahead, enjoy Valentine’s Day! Next February 14th, I hope I can join you in spreading the love to others!

Long time readers of this blog will remember the fun we had two years ago, during the Valentine’s Day Emergency Hotline, in which we took turns “standing by” on IM 24/7 in case someone needed some virtual loving. We could probably update the whole concept now, and do it on Twitter. Maybe next year. Hopefully, by then, no one will need it. We all will be in LOVE and perfectly happy.

Every self-help book in the world always gives the same cliched advice — you have to love yourself first. So, maybe Hilly’s Happy Self Love Day is a more fruitful Valentine’s Day exercise than patting the lovelorn on the back and saying that everything will be all right.

Do I love Neil? I suppose I do. I spend a lot of time with him. He doesn’t bore me. He likes the same TV shows that I do. We agree on most things. But what distinguishes this Neil from the countless other Neils out there in the world? Do I love this Neil more than any other?

There is a blogger in Glasgow named Neil, who is also trying to find himself as a Neil.

“I am not althogether comfortable in my own name… Neil doesn’t quite fits with me. I try to embrace it, I acknowledge that I am probably stuck with it, but a part of me can never quite embody it.

Partly this is to do with association. I couldn’t identify with the other person at school who was called Neil (not Neil Spencer, not old Speggy!) and didn’t have any public figure who impressed me much. But maybe that has changed in the last twenty years. So I thought it might be interesting to have a look at Google’s top Neils to see what they say about the name.”

Neil Gaiman, Neil Armstrong, Neil Young, Neil Diamond… and then there I was, one notch above Neil Patrick Harris —

#8 — Neil Kramer – A blogger who, from my cursory examination, seems to be very into blogging for the sake of blogging. Rather like this then.

I was one of the Neils. How did this guy in Glasgow feel about this? Who did he think I was? Did my appearance on his list change his opinion of his Neil name? I don’t know if it helped him, but it certainly made me feel good. How can I not love a Neil… especially the #8 Neil on Google, maybe not a Neil Diamond, but a Neil diamond-in-the-rough? So, thank you, Neil of Glasgow, from Neil of New York. And on Valentine’s Day, I will accept that in lieu of any candy.

I hope those who have romantic stuff planned for tomorrow night, get lucky. Happy Valentine’s Day! And try to love yourself as well.